"AN UNUSUALLY METICULOUS COLLATION OF THE EARLY QUARTOS AND FIRST FOLIO": FIRST EDITION OF CAPELL'S IMPORTANT 1667 EDITION OF SHAKESPEARE
(CAPELL, Edward) SHAKESPEARE, William. The Works. London: Printed by Dryden Leach, for J. and R. Tonson, (1767-68). Ten volumes. Small octavo, contemporary full vellum, elaborately gilt-decorated spines, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. Housed in two matching cloth slipcases. $6800.
First edition of Shakespeare's works to be edited by Edward Capell, in handsome contemporary binding by Charles Hering.
"In 1745 Capell had been struck by the unsystematic editing of Shakespeare performed by Thomas Hanmer and had begun working on a new edition. By 1750 he had collected all the recent editions of Shakespeare, the folios, and most of the known quartos. A transcript of the complete plays was begun on 25 November 1749 and completed on 1 August 1766; this survives in Trinity College, Cambridge, but the story that Capell transcribed Shakespeare ten times testifies only to contemporaries' sense of his obsessional nature… The edition (in ten small octavo volumes, 1767–8) was warmly dedicated to the duke of Grafton… It was the first edition to be prepared from a complete transcript rather than a marked-up copy of the previous edition, and it marked a change of editorial policy in which the textus receptus was rejected in favour of an unusually meticulous collation of the early quartos and first folio. Pegge records that Lord Dacre wrote to Capell as the 'Restorer of Shakespeare', and that Capell wept on reading the letter. Capell was the first to drop Rowe's anecdotal account of Shakespeare's life; he set the agenda for the documentary research of Edmond Malone into Shakespearian chronology and biography" (DNB). Jaggard, 502. With the booklabel in Volume I of binder Charles Hering, active in London from 1795 to 1815. Bookplates.
Interior generally fine, vellum quite clean. A beautiful copy of this important edition in about-fine condition.